Sunday 3 January 2016

Some fairly random thoughts on book blogging

After a reading slump which lasted through most of the second half of 2015 - it seemed to keep almost getting better, but never quite managing it - the latest book in Candy Harper's Faith series, Leap of Faith, seems to have finally snapped me out of it. I adored it; it was my favourite YA of last year, but rather than leave me wonder how I could follow it I ended up reading some great stuff straight after it. I loved Ella Lyons's novella Complementary And Acute, a boarding school romance between two girls, found Phil Earle's Superhero Street a fantastically funny read, finally got to Treasure Island for the #2016ClassicsChallenge after planning to read for much of 2015, and have just picked up My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante which has got off to an intriguing start. I'm even keeping track of what I've read for the first time in ages, using xCrini's amazing spreadsheet, which started off mainly to keep Debbie happy but which I'm finding surprisingly enjoyable.

I have tons of plans for this blog (as mentioned yesterday they won't necessarily just involved books, and the upcoming post I'm writing looks at stage and screen favourites of 2015) as well as for Teens on Moon Lane. And I'm going to keep up with the spreadsheet, and the cool plans I have, until I stop finding them enjoyable/useful. When I do, I'm going to stop, or pause. Because at the end of the day, blogging should be FUN and this is something I came so close to forgetting last year. This is the time of year that you see lots of advice being given out, and some of it's awesome, while some of it I disagree with. What I'd say is that really, there are barely any rules to blogging. I would say the only cast-iron ones were to be honest to your readers, and to avoid personal attacks. Other than that, do what you want. (Although my STRONG personal preference is to warn people if you're posting spoilers!) Post reviews, interviews, hauls, top tens, features, discussions posts - whatever you find interesting. Some people review everything they read, some people review a tiny percentage. Some stick to books that they absolutely love and want to scream about, some write insightful criticism of books they found problematic or disliked to warn others about them. Some blog most days, others once every few months. There WILL be readers out there who like what you do, whatever it is. Yes, there will be others who don't and that's fine - you cannot please everyone and it's a waste of time and energy trying. If people aren't keen on your blog there are hundreds of others they can read; there's no reason for you to try and change stuff to fit in. (Obviously, if you get criticism/advice you think is worth taking, go for it - but I'd be wary of making changes just because one or two people don't like the way you're blogging.)

Also, on a sorta-related note, I've just discovered Bookstagram and am amazed that I've missed out on such a wonderful community for so long. If you want a brilliant way to talk about books and make friends with people but you're not keen on blogging and/or just want a chance, I would massively recommend both Instagram and taking part in Twitter chats. We'll be running #CountdownML from @teensonmoonlane every month this year and would love to see people join in, while the recently started #SundayYA, run by Rachel, is always huge fun. In addition, the giants of the UK chat scene, Lucy The Reader's #ukyachat and Lorraine Gregory and Miriam Craig's #ukmgchat, are still going strong and are always superb!

So, here's to a wonderful 2016 for all of us! Whether you're blogging, Instagramming, tweeting, or just enjoying reading - have a FANTASTIC year.

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